From Aspiring Writer to Published Author by Paula Guildea | Magazine | Tell Your Own Story | Writing & Me
Paula Gildea

Paula Guildea

My Journey of Persistence and Growth

I can vividly remember as a child wanting to write a story about an ice queen living in a magical place, surrounded by a forest made of ice boulders, with a polychromatic sky. Escapism was on my radar, as I chalked out hopscotch numbers on the pavement.

Over the years, I toyed with storytelling through many mediums, until I decided I wanted to write a novel. As a hopeful writer, the road to publication is often paved with uncertainty, rejection, and countless hours of honing a craft that, in some regard, seemed unattainable. For years, I toiled away in the solitude of my writing space feeling like an imposter every time my fingers touched the keyboard. Little did I know that this journey would be a test of patience, resilience, and perseverance.

After years of writing in obscurity, I made the decision to pursue a BA, then a master’s degree in creative writing. It was a leap of faith, a commitment to delve deeper into the craft and surround myself with like-minded individuals who shared my passion. The knowledge and guidance gained from my studies were invaluable, providing me with the tools and techniques to elevate my writing to new heights. But it was my teacher Belinda McKeon whose guidance showed me the power of storytelling in all its forms – from crafting compelling characters to movement, character voice, and the art of show don’t tell. I gained a type of confidence that wasn’t there previously.

However, like many aspiring writers, I soon realized that writing was not just a talent but a skill that required nurturing, and that would take endless hours of rewriting. It has taken me years to love what I create. Sending a manuscript out to a publisher means you must be prepared for rejection. As I understood, even with newfound skills and a deeper understanding of the craft, the path to publication could remain elusive. But I refused to be discouraged. I continued to write, to revise, and to submit my work, determined to persevere despite the odds. And the continued email reply of – your work doesn’t fit our publishing ethos etc

Want by Paula GuildeaAnd then, after years of disappointment, came the breakthrough I had been waiting for. An English publishing house saw potential in my manuscript, offering me a contract to bring my story to life. It was a moment of sheer exhilaration, a validation of years of hard work and dedication. But little did I know that the journey was far from over, and the hard work was about to begin.

Once the contract was signed, the real work began. From editing to cover design to marketing strategies, every step of the publishing process was a collaborative effort between myself and the publishing team, especially Lauren my publicist. Learning about self-promotion, social media, Book Tok, book clubs and networking has become my daily routine.

Yet, amidst the chaos, there was a sense of fulfillment that I had never experienced before. To see my words transformed into a tangible book, to hold it in my hands and know that it would soon be in the hands of readers, was a feeling like no other. It was the culmination of years of hard work, study and feeling good about my writing style.

But perhaps the most surprising part of my journey to publication was the realization that it was not the end, but rather the beginning of a new chapter. The imminent release of my debut novel leaves me with both excitement and apprehension, as I wait for the verdict of readers and critics alike.

Looking back on everything, I am grateful for every rejection, every setback, and every moment of doubt. I was so determined, and I guess that’s what drove me forward, pushing me to strive for the positive result that I have now. And while the road to publication may have been long, it was a journey worth taking, for it has shaped me into the writer I am today.

So, to all the aspiring writers out there, I say this: never give up on your dreams. Keep writing, keep revising, and above all, keep believing in yourself. For the journey to publication may be challenging, but the destination is more than worth it.

(c) Paula Guildea

About Want by Paula Guildea:

Want by Paula GuildeaIn the heat of a summer break in Dublin, Darcy, a university student in her final year, navigates a world steeped in the complexities of woke culture. As her peers immerse themselves in the fervour of social justice and activism, Darcy grapples with the pressure to conform, feeling like an outsider in her own life. Behind closed doors, Darcy bears the weight of a secret world. She is the silent guardian of her grandmother, a woman lost to the clutches of dementia. In the shadows of her responsibilities, Darcy conceals the haunting tragedy of losing her parents in a devastating accident, shielding herself from the pitying glances of her friends. Amidst the societal expectations and her hidden burdens, Darcy seeks solace in the embrace of someone unexpected during moments of vulnerability.

However, the truth remains elusive as she wrestles with the intricacies of her own desires, morals and confusion. At the heart of Darcy’s journey is Jessica, an ex-lover whose presence looms large, a constant reminder of the crux moments that shaped her past. Their tangled history serves as a mirror reflecting Darcy’s inner struggles, forcing her to confront the layers of deception she has woven to protect herself. “Want” is a poignant exploration of identity, loss, and the ever-evolving landscape of woke culture. In a world where authenticity is both a shield and a vulnerability, Darcy must navigate the delicate balance between the person she presents to the world and the one she discovers within herself. Will she find the courage to strip away the veils shrouding her true reflections?

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About the author

Paula Guildea lives in County Dublin, Ireland. she teaches Esol and creative writing, and spends time with family. Paula has a BA Degree in English literature, a Higher Diploma in further education and a MA in creative writing.

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